Stage 1: Denial
The first kid walks up to you and sneezes directly on your face. It doesn’t matter that you’re wiping textbook infected green snot from your cheek, you will lie to yourself and say that the kid just has allergies. The pollen count must be high today. In December. Snow has pollen, right? It must, because there’s no way sickness is wedging it’s nasty head into your household again.
So what if the snotty kid is now asking to take a nap. She just magically became an angel who likes to sleep after 2 years of being a monster who can somehow live off of stupid small amounts of sleep. Kids change all the time.
See, there goes that kid, changing again–her December hayfever has given her a cough. The husband walks up to you after being sneezed on and says, “I think she’s sick.” You give him the evil eye for speaking sickness into existence. He’s jinxed you for sure.
Wait, she wants to snuggle? @#$!. She’s sick. Better keep her away from the others before we’ve got a full plague on our hands.
Stage 2: Lock Down
Snotty kid (aka Toddler) got the Older One sick, who went from bouncing off the walls all day to dying at exactly midnight. Older Kid’s dying sounds woke up Toddler. You pumped them both full of Benedryl and cough medicine, but the congestion kept them up and down all night. You and the hubby wake up exhausted and sneezing with sore throats. You accept that everyone is sick, but tell yourself it’s just a cold. Today will be the worst day, and tomorrow everyone will be over the hump. You can get through this. You make up medicine charts for each family member so you can stay on top of the every 4-6 hour dosings. Despite also being sick yourself, you pull on your inner super hero Mom strength and take care of everyone all day, including the husband. You make sure everyone drinks water, eats chicken noodle soup, washes hands, covers coughs, and has tissues for their leaky noses. All while doing your best to keep the 2 month old from being on the receiving end of one of those green snot sneezes and coughs. You happily nurse her around the clock to give her the best shot of surviving.
Stage 3: Fever
No more denial–it’s the flu. Toddler came down with a fever at exactly midnight. And not just a low grade fever–we’re talking full fledged 103° fever. Of course come sun rise, you all have fevers. The medicine charts are a nightmare because everyone is having to alternate Tylenol and Ibuprofen to combat the Black Plague-esque fevers. The baby now has a sniffly nose, but no fever yet. She nurses non stop all day, depleting you of the little energy you had left after being up all night with the other two. Luckily, no one has any energy, so you all wallow together in your misery and watch Disney Jr all day. No one has an appetite, which is fortunate because they’d starve if they did; no way you’re cooking anything. You’re still rallying to keep the baby healthy, and so you continue to remind everyone to cover their coughs. No one can hear your desperate whispers over all the coughing though, because you’ve lost your voice. You curse the mom from dance class who brought the coughing kid to class last week; this must have come from them. If you survive this epidemic, you vow to tell her off at the next class.
Stage 4 (feels like 496): Delirium
You have now been sick for 496 days. At least that’s what it feels like. In all actuality, you have no idea what day it is or even what year it is. The mixture of not getting enough sleep and fever has left you dizzy and completely delirious. You can’t make sense of the medicine charts anymore and just pray you’re not over-dosing anyone at a lethal level. Toddler coughs on everything and everyone while using everything except tissues to wipe her nose on, and you can only moan in retaliation. The Older Child got the least severe case and is already on the up swing. She has completely forgotten what being sick feels like since she woke up fever – free, and doesn’t understand why you won’t take her outside to play or at least let her roller skate inside the house. She spends all day pestering you to play board games, making irritating noises at the top of her lungs, asking deep life questions like “Why do dogs have legs?”, and demanding food every 2 hours, oblivious to the fact that you are still nursing the baby around the clock on your death bed. Somehow you survive this awful day.
Stage 5: Recovery
All fevers have finally broken, and you are back to a somewhat normal mental state. But you and the hubby are completely exhausted and in desperate need of a day of rest. Unfortunately, children’s cycle of sickness skips this “recovery” phase. Now that they’re feeling better, they are back to running around and wanting you to play with them. You tell them that Mommy and Daddy are still tired and need rest, and hope that they’ll watch Disney Jr all day again. Instead, they seize this moment of weakness and wreak complete havoc on the house. Neither you nor your husband have the energy to stop them. Damn you, old age! They don’t nap either, because they have that much energy. You hobble through the day, counting down until bedtime. Bedtime finally comes, but the little shits get one last burst of energy and don’t go to sleep right away. You wonder at this point why God hates you, and chug a whole bottle of nighttime cough medicine so you might finally get some sleep. The children will just have to fend for themselves if they wake up in the middle of the night.
Stage 6: Clearing the Lungs
Because you are old, you’re still low energy. Your whole family is at the stage where you are hacking up all the junk that had gotten stuck in your lungs. It’s disgusting. Since Toddler is still learning how to spit, she chokes on the phlegm and ends up throwing up. Every time you run to the bathroom to hack up a lung, you hear, “MOOOMMMM! CAN YOU GET – – -“.
No, children, no.
Stage 7: Tahiti
You are all finally better, except the coughing, which always lasts until the next round of sickness. You dump the kids off on the grandparents, lying to their faces when they ask if the kids are better. They can’t possibly still be contagious.
Who cares–you have hours of decontaminating to do to get rid of all the germs. An hour into the process, you realize that you will never be able to clean everything. Best just to burn it all and start fresh. Speaking of start fresh, you could really use a vacation. So you light a match and board a plane to Tahiti; it’s a magical place, after all. The grandparents will be fine; they’ve already survived parenthood once, surely they can manage a second time.